More than just fashion and lifestyle – that’s what Ecko Unlimited is all about. The clothing label, founded by Marc Ecko (a.k.a. Marc Milecofsky), cashed in about $1.5 Billion in 2007 alone, making the brand one of the most bankable fashion lines in the industry. The label is now sold in over 5,000 retail shops across the country.
The company’s current golden status was a far cry from its humble beginnings. Ecko started his fashion venture in the early 1980’s as a shirt retailer. Starting with just six t-shirts and a can of spray paint in 1993, Marc Ecko, together with Seth Gerszberg and Marci Tapper, decided to set up shop in the quiet suburb of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
In 1996, he managed to enter the indie fashion business by releasing his first ad. The same year, his label was put under the limelight after he designed clothes for the movie Jurassic Park 2. To celebrate his business enterprise, Marc Ecko launched the company’s official website – www.eckounltd.com.
After thrusting his label to the cusp of fashion stardom, Mr. Magazine named Marc Ecko as one of the “50 Most Fascinating People in Menswear” in 1997. He would then be included in a number of lists, including New York magazine’s “Influentials” list, Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40” list, DNR’s “Power 100 List,” Detail magazine’s list of “Most Powerful Men Under 38,” and JVibe magazine’s “Hot List.”
Marc Ecko didn’t disappoint the watchful eyes of fashion critics who named him “the next big thing in fashion” when his label reported a 100% increase in sales in 1998.
And from there on Ecko Unlimited skyrocketed and entered several business ventures. In 1999, Marc Ecko released his footwear collection, with then Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst as his endorser. The same year, the label made history by being the first design house to appear in a video game – Playstation’s Knockout Kings 2000.
At the dawn of the new millennium, celebrated director Spike Lee produced a short film and runway show for the company at the Council of Fashion Designer’s (CFDA) “Seventh on 6th” event. The same year, Ecko became an international brand after the company sent its first shipment to Japan.
In 2001, Marc Ecko expanded its reach by acquiring Zoo York, which is famous for its men’s and women’s street wear and skate accessories. He also launched the Marc Ecko Watch Collection, making the company an all-around fashion label.
The following year, Marc Ecko ventured into media and published Complex Magazine, a men’s style guide and lifestyle publication with a circulation of 340,000. He then unveiled his Ecko Boys collection – a clothing line for boys, toddlers and infants, in 2003. He also struck a deal with 50 Unit to help publicize and market G-Unit Clothing the same year.
The year 2004 was Marc Ecko’s biggest year yet because it was the year that signified his company’s mass expansion. They transferred their headquarters to a 275,000 sq. ft. loft in trendy Manhattan, New York. He then baptized a contemporary menswear collection he named Ecko Cut and Sew and launched Ecko Footwear for women. He also unveiled a complimentary collection to Ecko Boys – EckoRed Kids – which consists of cool and hip girls clothes.
In 2005, Marc Ecko joined the CFDA and became its youngest member. The following year, Marc Ecko announced a “massive retail roll-out.” He also had his hands on Ecko TV, an in-store and online video channel streaming shows made by consumers, and independent film and video makers. His media involvement doesn’t end there; he is also founded Marc Ecko Entertainment, a production company focused on interactive entertainment. The company, in coordination with Atari, unveiled a game named “Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.”
Two years later, the company, in coordination with Lucas films, made a “fashion tribute” of George Lucas’ celebrated movie series, Star Wars. The Luke, Darth Vader and Yoga-inspired tees were marketed under the Cut and Sew collection. In August of the same year he founded Complex Media Network, an ad network in charge of complex.com, slamxhype.com, karmaloop.com, karmaloop.tv, nahright.com, bastardly.com, nicekicks.com, and planetxbox.com.
Seemingly unstoppable, Marc Ecko unveiled a new jean line for women called Ecko MFG. This last venture is just one of his fashion collections, alongside Ecko Red (for women), Ecko Function (alternative sports and outerwear, Ecko Storage (bags and accessories), Marc Ecko Leather (leather goods), Marc Ecko Scopes (eyewear), among many others. Marc Ecko Enterprises is also the parent company of Avirex, a middle-class sportswear line.